As most schools have closed to limit the further spread of the novel coronavirus, Cisco and IBM are helping students and educators to continue learning and teaching remotely.
Over the last few weeks, Cisco and IBM have launched a joint initiative to create free virtual classrooms for students affected by school closures. The aim is not only to connect teachers and students through interactive online classes, but to also help them use the technology more effectively.
In Europe, as an example, the virtual classrooms powered by Cisco Webex enable teachers to host and record video conferences, share educational content from their screens, communicate with students on different apps and receive feedback from them, all instantaneously. To help educators and students adapt to this new classroom format, IBM has deployed over 3,000 trained volunteers – who also telework from their homes using Cisco Webex – to share their expertise. IBM volunteers provide tutoring sessions and real time assistance to teachers, helping them adopt the tool and make the most out of it.
“As IBMers, we share our expertise and knowledge with the community every day, in many ways. Challenges such as the one we are all facing today, with COVID-19, give us an opportunity to have technology and volunteerism make a real difference where it matters the most for the future of our society: with our children’s education,” said Martin Jetter, SVP and chairman, IBM Europe.
The initiative has already been launched in a number of European countries, including Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and the UK. So far, the program has reached at least 200,000 students at over 2,000 schools across Europe.
Cisco and IBM are looking to expand this project more broadly to help teachers bring continuity to their classrooms and support students through their learning.